RECOMMENDED:

The Shed at Glenwood
475 Bill Kennedy Way, Atlanta, GA 30316
(In Glenwood Park)
404-835-4363 , www.theshedatglenwood.com

Good choices: any of the numerous sliders on Wednesday night, chicken-liver
bruschetta, any of the fresh vegetables.

Anis
2974 Grandview Ave., Atlanta, GA 30305
404-233-9889, www.anisbistro.com

Good choices: Salade Nicoise, steak frites and the three-course plate at lunch; octopus carpaccio, pan-roasted trout and roasted chicken at dinner.

Sotto Sotto
313 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307
404-523-6678, www.sottosottorestaurant.com

Good choices: Any of the cured meats, any of the risottos, spaghetti with Sardinian mullet roe, wood-roasted whole fish.

Campagnolo
980 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309
404-343-2446, www.peasantatl.com

Good choices: fettucine with bacon, egg and chicken livers added; risotto; lemon chicken; lamb marsala; espresso bread pudding.

Antico Pizza
1093 Hemphill Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30318
404-724-2333, www.anticopizza

Good choices: Margherita with no meat, please! Also: San Gennaro, and the Diavola. Warning: Do not carry this pizza out; it will steam into mush.

Robert and his friend Jimmy, who was helping organize the club, had promoted it on their Facebook pages. Between them, they had 3,862 friends, but, as Robert said, that number included maybe five potential husbands and 11 people he actually liked. His ulterior motive in forming the club was to find a husband before he turned 50 in a year.

Robert had barely introduced himself when a 25-ish man who had been wildly texting on Grindr a few chairs away suddenly stood up and announced he had to leave. Not 30 seconds later, another man stood up and said sheepishly that he had to do the same and hurried out the door.

“Well, that was subtle,” Robert’s old friend, Janet, quipped. “Food porn indeed!”

Others at the table laughed. Several discreetly slid their iPhones under their napkins.

“So, help us out,” Jimmy said. “Does anyone have some advice?”

“I do,” volunteered a muscular man, maybe 40, in plaid shorts and a tight gray t-shirt.

He was, as Robert liked to say, fully “Pensacola’d,” referring to last week’s annual gay Memorial Day party in Pensacola, Fla. Many men spent weeks in advance dieting, roiding, lifting, running, tanning, refreshing tattoos and depilating — “Pensacoling.”

“I’m Brandon,” he said, “and I’d like to suggest that you aim this club at masc men only. The last thing this city needs is another venue full of drama-loving stereotypes into the scene.”

The table fell momentarily silent. Robert marveled at Brandon’s stereotypical shoulder tattoo of a koi fish swimming through what looked like lily pads and Chinese ideograms tangled with blue swirls.

“You sound like a stereotypical Grindr profile yourself,” somebody at the end of the table blurted. People laughed nervously.

“I was kiddin’,” Brandon said. “Sort of…”

Robert was grateful to see the sliders arriving.

“I hope y’all enjoy them as much as I do. Let’s not let ‘em get cold,” he said.

“These aren’t the usual mini-burgers,” Robert reminded the group. “Chef Lance Gummere is to sliders what Dr. Frank ‘N Furter is to the Rocky Horror Picture Show: a mad scientist tampering with the natural form of things, creating something sensual that you can hold in your hand.”

Robert ordered a rarely appearing slider made with chicharrones — slabs of pork fat stewed in green sauce — and a mini-panino made with cauliflower, dates and lardo. He couldn’t resist a third made with pork belly and chimichurri sauce. The plain Angus burger was always good too.

Another man spoke up.

“I’m Jack and I don’t like that the club name isn’t more inclusive. I’m a trans man, and I really think it should be the Atlanta Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Food Porn Supper Club. I mean, seriously, am I welcome here?”

Janet rolled her eyes.

“Suppose we just drop any specification of sexual orientation. I presume breeders are welcome too. Oh, I’m loving this crab-cake slider. Three dollars…Incredible!”

Jack shrugged. “I guess if the Human Rights Campaign doesn’t mention sexual orientation, you don’t need to either,” he said sarcastically.

Robert stepped in. “What about actual restaurants? Any suggestions?”

Other diners began rapid-firing names, several of which Robert liked, including Anis, Sotto Sotto and Campagnolo. Someone also mentioned Antico Pizza.

“They have great pizza there,” Robert said, “but I can’t see 20 of us trying to get to know one another while eating off cardboard boxes in a room noisier and more crowded than the dance floor at Jungle.”

The harried servers began clearing dishes and Robert urged everyone to order his favorite dessert in the city, a goblet full of Greek yogurt with honey, dates and walnuts.

To his delight, the dessert caused the table to fall silent except for the clinking of spoons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.